Glioblastoma: is there light at the end of the tunnel?


20 Jul 2016

  • Brain Disease, Cancer

With only a median survival of 14 months even with surgery and chemotherapy, the prognosis for Glioblastoma is dismal. Better treatment and new therapies will have a profound effect on the lives of many who inevitably die from the disease.

Now, a new dream team of researchers in Canada funded by Stand up to Cancer has set out to do just that . The project titled “Targeting Brain Tumor Stem Cell Epigenetic and Molecular Networks” is led by Dr. Peter Dirks from the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, and Dr. Sam Weiss from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary in Canada (

Researchers have found that brain cancers like Glioblastoma contain brain tumor stem cells (BTSCs), which are similar to nerve stem cells that mature during normal brain development, but whose abnormal programming may drive the ability of the tumors to grow back again and become drug-resistant. The goal is to understand the molecular anomalies in BTSCs so that they can identify weaknesses (of the tumors) that can be used to develop new drugs that are effective. The dream team will use cutting-edge technology to understand the biological profiles of these cells from patients with Glioblastoma, including genetic, epigenetic and metabolomics profiles. They will also screen a collection of chemicals on the BTSCs for potential new drugs and drug combinations, with the goal of bringing new drugs to trial.

Watch this YouTube video of the research team to learn more:

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